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Vigilant Visualities: The Watchful Politics of the War on Terror

Amoore, L.



This article engages with a form of visual culture that is, W. J. T. Mitchell (2002: 170) reminds us, `not limited to the study of images and media', but extends also `to everyday practices of seeing and showing'. In the spirit of this openness to multiple manifestations of the domain of the visual and visual practices, the article explores how a particular mode of vigilant or watchful visuality has come to be mobilized in the `homefront' of the so-called war on terror. In homeland security programmes from border and financial screening to Highway Watch, how has sight become represented as the sovereign sense on the basis of which security decisions can be taken? Taking its illustrative cue from Paul Haggis's film Crash, and from a body of work that conceives of touch as `integral to' seeing, the article asks how we might subvert watchful politics by seeing seeing differently.


Amoore, L. (2007). Vigilant Visualities: The Watchful Politics of the War on Terror. Security Dialogue, 38(2), 215-232.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jun 1, 2007
Deposit Date Jan 27, 2009
Journal Security Dialogue
Print ISSN 0967-0106
Electronic ISSN 1460-3640
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 38
Issue 2
Pages 215-232
Keywords Surveillance, Visuality, War on terror, Homeland security, Crash.